Sign language disrupts bus

I don’t believe this.

As it says in the article, a 12-year-old girl was ordered to stop using sign language while riding the school bus because it was “creating a safety problem.” She was further threatened with suspension if she doesn’t stop signing. The Principal, J. Harry Westerholm, said, “Sign language, or any behavior, is not permitted if it is going to cause a disturbance on the bus.”

I can’t begin to understand this. Just how in the hell can signing while riding a bus be construed as a disturbance? Are the other kids not allowed to talk?

I also found a link to the school that the girl attends. It’s called Stony Brook School, and I’ll include the link just in case anyone is interested in forwarding a comment:

(On that page you can find links to both the staff of the school as well as the school district.)

The parents are already suing the school district over the incident that caused the girl to lose her hearing. The school district is probably not disposed to accomodating this family any more than they absolutely have to.

Also, bus drivers make excellent petty tyrants. They are prevented by law and policy from saying ‘yes’ to most things, and empowered only to say ‘no’. When your only power is saying ‘no’, you tend to use that power.

The district’s only staff on the bus is the driver – and they are already predjudiced against the student. Not a great leap to see the conflict here.

Not to say that the girl is automatically without fault because she’s deaf. Teenage girls can be snotty as hell. She may well be disrupting things on the bus for the driver, although I think it’s getting blown out of proportion.

The best bet for the district is to provide a private coach for this girl, starting now. Much less expensive to have her chauferred than pay her lawyers more money.

I admit, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. I read the article, but it doesn’t tell us much. While the parents claim that she was told to stop so that other children would stop teasing her (apparently it was their behavior that was unsafe and the only solution the school officials could come up with was to tell her to stop signing?,) the school refuses to give details, only saying that their version differs from that of the parents.

The one thing that did spring to mind was that signing requires a good view of the participants’ hands. If her friends were turning around in their seats or leaning into the aisles so as to see her, that could be a problem. But in that case, she could merely have been asked to converse only with her seatmates, not ordered to stop signing altogether.

I’d be interested in hearing what possible reasons the school could give for their action.

I don’t see any possible way that signing could constitute “being disruptive.” Unless she was walking up to the driver and getting all in his face or blocking a mirror, it’s not being like “her signing was too loud,” or “she’s signing bad words.” Who could tell?

Personally, I hope that school gets it in the ass, what right do they have to suspend this girl. She loses her hearing because of them, and now they’re mad at her for not being able to hear. F*** off, leeme alone!